November 22, 2016

Admission of Self-Dealing by Trump Foundation Shows Why President-Elect Trump Must Release His Tax Returns

Americans for Tax Fairness Executive Director Frank Clemente made the following statement in response to today’s Wall Street Journal report that “President-elect Donald Trump’s charitable foundation engaged in self-dealing in 2015 and prior years, the foundation said in an Internal Revenue Service filing.”

“Today we learned that Donald Trump’s Foundation made illegal payments to ‘foundation insiders,’ donated money to right-wing political groups, and that it accepted $150,000 from the same foreign donor that Trump criticized the Clinton Foundation for accepting contributions from,” said Clemente.

“These indiscretions by Trump’s charitable foundation make clear that we need greater transparency into Trump’s personal finances. What potential conflicts of interest will be revealed by Trump’s federal tax returns?  How will his administration’s financial policies benefit himself, his businesses and his family?  The American people deserve to know.”

Additionally, today’s New York Times reports that Trump asked a British politician to protect the “pristine view from one of his two Scottish Golf courses.”  Reporters Danny Hakim and Eric Lipton wrote: “The meeting, held shortly after the presidential election, raises new questions about Mr. Trump’s willingness to use the power of the presidency to advance his business interests.”

The article also notes Trump’s recent meetings with business and political leaders from India, Japan and Argentina that appear to mix diplomacy with Trump’s private business.

Trump responded to the growing criticism of self-dealing by Tweeting: “Prior to the election it was well known that I have interests in properties all over the world. Only the crooked media makes this a big deal!”

“Donald Trump seems to be saying that we knew he would use the presidency to enrich himself when we elected him.  That is disgraceful,” Clemente said.  “A Trump Administration must be held to a higher ethical standard than the Trump Foundation.

“Trump must follow the lead of every president in the last 40 years and release his tax returns.  It is clear that Trump doesn’t believe it is a problem for him to use the presidency to enrich himself.  The only way the American people will be able to know when he is self-dealing is if his tax returns are made public.”

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